Tectorians of the Week: Pretio and Tap for Tap

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We feature two Tectorians this week: Pretio and Tap for Tap.

Pretio, a Victoria-based advertising technology firm recently closed a deal to purchase another local software startup, Tap for Tap.

Tap for Tap is a mobile ad network for iOS and Android apps which includes a free tap exchange as well as paid promotion and app monetization network.

Founded in Victoria by Todd Dunlop and Eric Dyck in April 2012, Tap for Tap offers an ad network that allows app developers to cross-promote their app by exchanging ad placements within apps in the network. More than 15,000 app developers around the world use Tap for Tap’s network.

Tap for Tap is far from Todd Dunlop’s first successful startup. The Royal Roads grad and serial entrepreneur founded Neverblue Media, a Victoria-headquartered company that is internationally famous for offering a high-quality ad network, and is one of the local tech scene’s biggest employers.

Pretio was founded by 26 year-old entrepreneur Tyrone Sinclair in 2012 with an initial focus on helping games, apps and websites engage users by giving rewards from brands for certain activities (for instance, a $10 coupon from Target for visiting frequently or 50% off from Tommy Bahama for hitting a new game level).

In 2013, after having raised an angel round from local investors and bringing well-known Tectorian Jim Hayhurst on board, the company raised additional funding from Sir Terry Matthews’ Wesley Clover International and Vancouver-based VC Yaletown Venture Partners.

Since then, the company has allowed other advertising networks to use Pretio’s technology and offers to fill the millions of daily ‘moments’ where users expect to be rewarded – not bombarded with banner ads

The acquisition of Tap for Tap by Pretio is especially exciting for the VIATeC community.

Pretio, the first graduate of VIATeC’s Accelerator Program, acquired the 2012 VIATeC Award Recipient for Online Strategy of the Year, Tap for Tap.

Pretio is also located at Owen Matthew’s mini-tech park at 1124 Vancouver Street, famous for using a VW bus and a Boler camping trailer as meeting rooms.

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Image Courtesy of Photographer Sama Jim Canzian

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Community Chest – VIATeC Peer Round Tables

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Did you know there are some fantastic peer round tables that take place monthly at Fort Tectoria?

Whether you’re a marketer wanting to expand your knowledge, a CEO looking for insightful discussion or a sales leader looking for professional development, there’s a monthly round table for you!

Marketing and Product Management Round Table
This year’s series of round table meetings has a focus on how to solve problems in marketing and project management, with a focus on case studies. Marketers and product managers of different disciplines and experience levels are all welcome.

The group meets the third Wednesday of every month.

CEO Breakfast Club
As the name implies, this round table is made up of CEOs, COOs or General Managers working in Victoria tech companies with sales in excess of $500,000 per year.

This is a very relaxed group, with energetic presenters and a great opportunity for exchange of ideas with like minded peers.

The CEO Breakfast Club meets the first Friday of every month.

The Business Development Round Table
This round table is for sales leaders who manage teams, channels or strategy for their organizations.

Presentations on technology, techniques and problem solving are a focus, as well as great conversation and support in a friendly environment.

This group meets the fourth Wednesday of every month.

To join any of these groups you must meet the criteria mentioned above for membership and be a VIATeC member. Please forward 3 or 4 sentences sharing your current role and your background, or your LinkedIn profile to rbennett@viatec.ca so he can forward your membership request to the group leader.

Tectoria’s TinyMob Games is Now Engaged in Global Warfare

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It’s official: Tectoria’s TinyMob Games is now engaged in global warfare.

Fans of the made-in-Victoria real-time strategy game can download and play Tiny Realm Battlegrounds from the Apple App Store.

In fact, since being launched earlier in October, Tiny Realms Battlegrounds has battled its way to becoming an App Store “Best New App” in 100 countries.

It’s hard to believe TinyMob, led by Tectorians Chris Hoefgen, Alex Mendelev and Jamie Toghill, opened their Langley Street studio last fall, just a year ago after quickly raising a whopping $2 million in seed funding.

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The team has been incredibly busy building a fun and popular game that lets anyone create worlds, assemble armies, wage wars, and build empires.

With the latest release, players all over the world can now not only explore TinyMob’s complex world, they can team up with and compete against each other in massive battles and campaigns.

And it’s no wonder why the game is so popular. Tiny Realms features fantastic graphics and terrific gameplay, and a cheeky sense of humour.

What new features did Tiny Mob launch earlier this month to make the game so massively popular?

Clive from Tiny Mob says:

Our fans have been battling it out as individuals against other players in our player-versus-player multiplayer mode, or exploring solo adventures in Quest mode.

Battlegrounds adds a massive, completely unique dimension to Tiny Realms that is unavailable in any other mobile game. Players can now fight as their favourite faction in real-time and collaborate with other players towards a goal of total global domination.

Humans, Dwarves and Tegu clash in an epic ongoing struggle as players from all around the world engage in total war within the Realm of Light.

The successful launch of the game on the App Store is a big deal.

It takes tons of talent and hard work to launch a highly sophisticated game that’s actually fun to play.

It’s all part of the rapid rise of Victoria’s video game industry.

Besides getting critical home-town recognition in a the Times Colonist, TinyMob and its new game were also the subject of a longer Tech Crunch profile published earlier this past spring.

Tiny Mob Games has also built up a devoted online following thanks in part to an engaging Facebook presence, as well as witty and entertaining videos on the Victoria game developer’s YouTube channel:

It’s hard to believe something so cool could be created in Victoria in such a short period of time.

So let’s help TinyMob Games celebrate this significant milestone… and download the game so we can represent Tectoria in the realm of global warfare!

Tectorian of the Week: BC Open Textbook Project

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BC Open Textbook Project’s Clint Lalonde

Our Tectorian of the Week is the Tectoria-based BC Open Textbook Project.

The BC Open Textbook Project champions practical innovations in learning such as open-source textbooks, which reduce the cost of postsecondary education. Improving affordability makes education more accessible for everyone. More highly-educated people means more folks to fill the jobs being pumped out by the booming advanced technology industry.

Victoria is the hub of a massive BC initiative that has received relatively little press until BCcampus director Mary Burgess was recently interviewed by CBC’s Michael Enright on Canada’s most popular radio program.

Enright, who has two sons in university, has remarked how astoundingly expensive university textbooks are. Compounding the problem, frequent updates to information and citations mean textbooks are revised and reissued from year to year, making it difficult to recycle them.

And expensive textbooks can be a major barrier to education for cash-strapped students.

So Enright was happy to learn the project has developed 40 openly-licensed textbooks that are available to everyone – the textbooks will be free of charge to students (check out the OpenEd website to see what textbooks are available so far).

As the BC Open Textbook project’s Clint Lalonde notes on his personal blog (and this is a man who still keeps an actual web log of his daily activities):

Spent a morning doing some research on cost of textbooks for students taking introductory mining courses at various institutions in BC – suggested retail price:$108.55 for one of 9 first term courses in this mining program. Add in the $212 Chem book you need in this course and the $165.80 Math book for this one, and your first term costs for textbooks is already close to $500…for 1/3 of the 9 courses you need for your first term…of a four term program. You only have 33 more courses to buy books for (I didn’t go any further).

The solution? Open-source textbooks.

Other key players in the Victoria-based, provincially funded project include Amanda Coolidge and Laurie Aesoph, who both work directly with faculty managing the development side of textbook production.

Brad Payne, the team’s technical analyst, has done some absolutely incredible work on the project including a lot of custom development on Pressbooks and APIs to feed several different applications into what appears as our open textbook site in a seamless way.

Making sure students have access to textbooks is a big deal, since textbooks in college and university typically cost students thousands of dollars.

And by improving access to postsecondary education in BC, Clint and the BCcampus team are helping make sure there will be skilled workers available to fill all of the technology jobs created by Tectoria’s rapidly growing sector.

Tectorian of the Week: Ho Kim

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Ho Kim, President and CEO of local tech company CAMACC and volunteer chair of VIATeC’s board of directors, has been named Ernst and Young’s 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year in the Information Technology category for Canada’s Pacific region.

Receiving the award is something to celebrate indeed.

The EY Entrepreneur of the Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement.

Ho’s award was announced at a gala ceremony in Vancouver on September 30. Other contenders for the award included Stephane Bourque of Vancouver’s Incognito Software and Jack Newton of Burnaby’s Themis Solutions.

The top award of the night went to the chief executive of Langley’s Leavitt Machinery, Thomas Leavitt, who was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

What Makes Ho Kim and CAMACC So Successful?

What is the secret of Ho’s success?

A lifelong athlete, Ho brings the same dedication that brought him success in basketball, volleyball and other sports to building a successful technology company from the ground up.

Ho believes that creating results on any level comes from developing a culture that motivates and empowers each of its members to succeed.

“At CAMACC we hire for attitude, and train for position,” says Ho.

Ho’s family moved to Victoria when he was a toddler. Four decades later Ho is still here, acting as a Tectoria ambassador to the world.

At CAMACC we hire for attitude, and train for position

Ho says he loves Victoria for the lifestyle and the spectacular natural environment – the same things have attracted tech entrepreneurs and business talent from around the world to make Victoria one of Canada’s fastest-growing tech hubs.

“I can’t think of a better place to operate a technology business,” says Ho.

CAMACC Part of an Elite Class of Companies Transforming Canada’s Economy

Under Ho’s leadership, CAMACC itself is playing a leading role in Canada’s rapidly evolving community of tech companies.

For example, like many other leading technology companies in Canada CAMACC has cultivated a truly international presence. While providing strategic vision and executive direction from Victoria, Ho regularly travels to satellite offices across North America and to CAMACC’s software engineering lab in China.

Just like CAMACC, other EY finalists operate globally and often consistently generate higher revenues from year to year.

EY found that Canada’s 2013 program finalists recorded average revenue growth of 37% year over year in 2012. That’s above the global average of 29% for developed countries. Seventy-four percent operate internationally, compared to 41% of businesses in Australia, a country similar in size to Canada.

A Year of Successes for Ho Kim and CAMACC

CAMACC is indeed recording growing revenues – earlier in September CAMACC was once again included in the VIATeC 25, the annual list of the largest technology companies headquartered or founded in Greater Victoria based on reported calendar revenues.

It’s been a great year so far for CAMACC. Under Ho’s leadership CAMACC won the 2014 VIATeC Technology Company of the Year Award (Ho was also a Finalist for the 2014 VIATeC Executive of the Year).

Congratulations to Ho Kim and his team in Tectoria. We’re looking forward to seeing where CAMACC goes next.

Tectorian of the Week – Rasool Rayani

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Local technology entrepreneur Rasool Rayani is our Tectorian of the Week.

While Rasool recently gained provincial recognition in September by appearing in BIV’s 2014 Forty under 40 list, us locals have long known Rasool to be the quintessential Tectorian.

In 2001, Rasool co-founded Metalogix Software, which won North America’s largest new venture competition in 2002, went on to experience triple digit organic and profitable growth and took on private equity financing in 2008.

Tectoria’s own Metalogix is now the leading provider of enterprise collaboration and infrastructure solutions to some of the world’s largest companies.

But Metalogix was just the beginning.

In 2009, Rasool began investing in early stage technology firms as an active angel investor.

Rasool works with any number of notable Victoria-based tech companies, including Tapstream and Victoria’s own Accelerate Tectoria graduates SendWithUs.

SendWithUs received a lot of attention recently when they became the first BC company to be accepted into the prestigious Y Combinator startup incubator program in Silicon Valley.

Of course, Rasool has pitched in and lent a hand with other tech companies that have caught the imagination of the global tech scene.

This who’s who of notable BC tech startups include include Backstage Software, Mediacore, Bet Smart Media, Versly, Unbouce and Solegear.

Rasool is a volunteer coordinator for the Victoria ALS Walk and he also volunteers his time as a mentor and advisor to young start-ups, and serves on the VIATeC board or directors.

Tectorian of the Week – Elizabeth Dutton

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New superstar VIATeC BoD member and Victoria returnee Elizabeth Dutton is our Tectorian of the Week.

Elizabeth Dutton may be most well-known for leading local ecommerce company UsedEverywhere.com, the popular network of free classified sites known (and loved) locally as UsedVictoria.com.

Since 2011, under Dutton’s leadership, UsedEverywhere has grown from 65 sites to over 90 sites in 3 countries. The online shopping has become the go-to place for finding whatever it is you need in your life, quickly and efficiently.

Dutton is also a talented Tectoria returnee: she grew up in Victoria and went to Ontario to attend Queen’s University.

She then spent eight years as a strategy and implementation consultant in Toronto and the UK helping her clients increase revenues by focusing on their customers, often through the use of online strategies.

When Dutton returned to North America, she was recruited to work at Amazon in their books division where she negotiated with many of the top publishers during the growth of Kindle and ebooks.

And now Elizabeth Dutton sits on the VIATeC Board. We’re pleased to welcome her, and forward to working with her for the next two years!